As I delve into criticisms of slumlords that have impacted our lives here in NoMi, I expect I'll get a few comments inquiring about my own landlord's imperfect track record. In fact, several such messages have already come my way. They have been and will continue to be deleted without being published.
I knew my landlord had issues with foreclosures before I rented to him. My move to this property became necessary when my previous landlord at 2218 Lyndale Ave N had his property raided. I knew Brian as an involved member of the Hawthorne community, and decided to move into one of his properties. Doing so would give a Hawthorne-based landlord at least one stable tenant in the hopes that he'd be able to build off of my timely rent and attract other quality renters.
There's this other guy, Jim Watkins (aka "The Anti-Johnny"), who's been going after John Hoff (Johnny Northside) for quite some time. I couldn't say what his motivations are for such a personal interest in John Hoff, nor do I particularly care. What I care about is that this is a person who has made intensely personal attacks against Hoff, Megan Goodmundson, myself, and other NoMi residents who are struggling to make things better. These attacks have intensified on the Jordan Hawkman website, where they frequently reference physical appearance and sexuality, as if those things have any bearing whatsoever on neighborhood revitalization. Watkins has expressed support for that site, although it is not known if he made any such comments there himself.
So, Jim Watkins contacted me several times. Here are two of his emails below:
Date: 5/30/10 Subject: Blog
Thedfwmentor@aol.com to me
Your posts are more popular and well received than JNS's. While I don't agree with some of what you say, at least you stay positive (minus out most of the landlord BS which, you don't have a background in), while John picks fights and easy targets to boost himself in the public eye.
Why don't you start your own blog?
It would accomplish several things. You could have your own spotlight and an instant group of followers and it would take you out of the line of fire that John has brought. Have you consulted an attorney about liability you carry simply by being a contributor on John's blog? Most people don't consider such things but, your being in a position of authority and employed by Hawthorne, being named in future law suits wouldn't be something to put on a resume.
The "Jordan Hawkman" as they have become known as, is not going to stop anytime soon and as long as you are a contributor to JNS's blog, you continue to be a target. Spare me the "I am not intimidated by anyone" routine because, the fact is... the Jordan Hawkman is very driven, very well funded and very smart as well as well connected. John's problems have not even begun yet and trust me.... the JH has barely begun his legal assault on John.
Start your own blog and distance yourself from John. While you may not care what my opinion is, I do have the respect of the JH and I would encourage him to lay off you and focus on John while I would also lay off you.
It is your god-given right to show this email to John if you like however, doing so will void out anything I said above and guarantee that your name will be connected to John's in the future. I suggest you actually read what I have put out about John on my site and maybe you will realize that John has no long-time friends for a reason... He fucks them over sooner or later.
(It should be noted that Jim Watkins' threats in no way influenced my decision to start my own blog. The primary factor in such a choice was that, while I understand John's commitment to publishing virtually every comment, I felt that was weakening the actual community dialogue that could take place. I wanted to strike out on my own to see if I could foster something a little different. But I respect John's commitment to free speech on JNS.)
And then there was this one:
Date: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 10:30 PM
Well we suggested that you distance yourself from the criminal JNS and start your own blog but, you seem to have chosen to stay with your side-kick or "partner in crime."
Have it your way!
This is what was sent to the inspections department earlier. I think you will recognize a lot of it.
"Breaking news!.....Dumb Dumb just had his house reported by the bigger Hawkman....awe.....too bad for him. Note that I found a way to get the inspector inside the property because it is a rental it does not take much (Wet basement)."
(a portion of the email has been deleted as it contained a long list of supposedly necessary repairs and/or code violations. That list was replete with spelling errors, leading me to doubt its validity. Furthermore, the rental license is valid, and the city's website lists only one assessment in the past three years - a $10 fine regarding uncut grass/weeds that has been canceled.)
Now we have kicked it up a notch! Remember Jeff... WE watch, WE snitch! But, you chose your bitch!
(End of email messages)
So here we are. Normally, I'd consider my own landlord's track record in comparison with some slumlords I've criticized to be fair game and even a very substantive part of community dialogue. However, these questions have come from a place of browbeating, intimidation, and personal attacks. Along with a series of baseless accusations (even, at one point, a post that said John Hoff "has possibly added kidnapping" to his activities
Given that these questions come from such dubious origins, I simply will not publish comments around certain topics or from certain people/entities on my blog. To the degree that such a decision limits genuine dialogue, I do apologize. But I make no secrets about who I am, where I live, where I work, or how to get a hold of me. Furthermore, the links above go directly to the city of Minneapolis website for the property I reside in. If conditions change, and other assessments are levied, clicking on those links will get you that information. Anyone who has sincere concerns about issues surrounding unpublished comments on this blog is free to stop by or contact me. Let's talk over a cup of coffee.